Today’s poem is “Niagara” by Richard Foerster. He’s the author of seven books of poetry, most recently River Road from Texas Review Press. Richard has worked as a lexicographer, educational writer, typesetter, teacher, and editor of the literary magazines Chelsea and Chautauqua Literary Journal.Since 1986, he has lived on the coast in southern Maine.
He writes “I wrote “Niagara” in November 2007, around what would have been my partner’s 60th birthday; he’d died the year before. A few years earlier, I’d enjoyed a trip to Niagara Falls, where the sight of …[a] cormorant negotiating the tumult remained with me and became the original impetus for the poem.”
by Richard Foerster
Under Horseshoe Falls, the Maid of the Mist
throttled at max amid thunder, churned
its engine headlong into the turbulence
to mimic a momentary repose, motionless
where all was furious motion.
Thus the red-robed
monk facing the masked phalanx in riot gear,
the student staring down a barrel
of destiny in Heaven’s Square. Name them
if you can. One blink and history closes
the books we never read.
Yet the thrill, to stand within
the mists of nature’s wonder, with the pounding
tonnage of time all around us, which, that day,
hadn’t yet swept our awed faces toward more
That was our miraculous then.
But look, my broken Love, the cormorant
that was diving there beside us all along, surfaces
here, again out of chaos, with a tiny radiance
thrashing, still poised in its bill.
Poem copyright © 2011 Richard Foerster.
Reprinted from Penetralia, by permission of Richard Foerster.